Archive | Stories

Reeling In the Trawlers: EU Takes On Overfishing

Fish stocks have made surprising comebacks in the North and Baltic seas. But much remains to be done. Beginning in January, new EU laws will impose more sustainable practices with stricter quotas and by-catch rules. By Philip Bethge When the men open the net on the ship’s deck, fat codfish slap into plastic fish baskets. […]

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Vultures lured back to Germany

Vultures are slowly returning to Germany, driven out long ago by an unwelcoming populace. At the behest of conservationists, loosened “carcass regulations” in Europe have made the search for food less daunting — but some still wonder if the birds will be able to survive. By Philip Bethge Griffon vulture number 259 is no longer able […]

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Flipper Fail: Dolphins May be Dumber Than We Think

For decades, it’s been common knowledge that dolphins are among the world’s smartest species. Now some researchers — and a new book — argue the supposed underwater geniuses aren’t so special after all. By Philip Bethge Their social lives are complex, and they can congregate in large groups. Their heart rates increase when they notice […]

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Ben Novak

The Second Cooing: Raising Passenger Pigeons from the Dead

The world has been without passenger pigeons since 1914. Now, scientists want to bring them back. Geneticist Ben Novak has embarked on the project and has begun collecting passenger pigeon DNA from natural history museums. His “de-extinction” efforts are not without critics. By Philip Bethge The eye sockets of the slender pigeon are filled with […]

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The Wizard of Stem Cell Science: Robert Lanza and the Dawning of a New Era of Hope

Ethical worries have slowed medical research into applications for stem cells. But scientists like Robert Lanza have developed less controversial ways to derive stem cells from normal body cells rather than embryos and are already launching the first clinical trials. By Philip Bethge Stem cell researcher Robert Lanza hopes to save thousands of lives — […]

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Interview with Edward O. Wilson on Human Evolution and the Origin of Morals

American sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson is championing a controversial new approach for explaining human evolution and the origins of virtue and sin. In an interview, the world-famous ant reseacher explains why he believes the inner struggle is the characteristic trait of human nature. By Philip Bethge and Johann Grolle Edward O. Wilson doesn’t come across […]

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SPIEGEL Blog: Surrogate Mother (Not Yet) Sought for Neanderthal

An interview published last week by SPIEGEL with American genetic scientist George Church has sparked frenetic media speculation about a supposed plan to bring the Neanderthal back from the dead. Church feels his remarks were mistranslated, but it was other media outlets that twisted his words. “Wanted: Surrogate Mother For Neanderthal,” screamed an article in […]

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Interview with George Church: Can Neanderthals Be Brought Back from the Dead?

In a SPIEGEL interview, synthetic biology expert George Church of Harvard University explains how DNA will become the building material of the future — one that can help create virus-resistant human beings and possibly bring back lost species like the Neanderthal. –> Update: The Interview has sparked frenetic media speculation about a supposed plan to […]

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